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We would like to transform video files to animated GIFs, and still provide a "video like" experience with the least possible GIF size.

Maximum GIF width is 600px and total size shouldn't be larger than 500 KB, and the animation length should be somewhere between 10 and 30 seconds.

Is there a ballpark frame rate we should aim for? Or do you know of any calculator we should use to figure it out?

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    Velocity of content in the video is highly relevant with the FPS rates. Here you can also check that frames-per-second.appspot.com Less than 12 FPS accepted as Stop-motion. – Abektes Apr 13 '16 at 11:40
  • remotely related: Is there an optimal timing for gif animation There’s also some dedicated image and file optimization software for animated GIFs, e.g. gifsicle (FOSS). I don’t think they automatically adjust the frame rate, though. – Crissov Apr 13 '16 at 18:17
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Unlike video files that usually only support a constant frame rate, there’s an individual delay between frames in the animated image file formats like AGIF, APNG¹, MNG or SVG+SMIL². This (and often the lack of sound) is a fundamental difference which simple video to GIF converters cannot take advantage of. I don’t know whether there are advanced ones that can automatically determine such values.

The default, minimum, maximum, median and average, hence optimal frame rates, accordingly, depend a lot on the nature of the video or animation. Think of a cheap 1980s Japanese anime, large portions of which would be fine with 1 Hz. Usually you should be good with 12–15 Hz, although you probably know that higher (progressive) rates of 24, 25 and 30 Hz (or double that) are used in cinema and television.

Be also aware that some browsers may actually slow down GIFs with too high a frame rate, which can start at 20 Hz.

The Graphics Interchange Format is not intended as a platform for animation, even though it can be done in a limited way.
GIF89a – Appendix D “Conventions”

  • +1 for mentioning Japanese anime. I would've made the same point: Anime revolutionized animation by holding on certain frames longer and there making it cheaper. In the case of GIF, treating your frame times with care in the same way makes your file size a lot smaller. See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_of_vision#Cartoon_animation – Wray Bowling Apr 13 '16 at 14:18
  • @Crissov, this is a very nice and in depth answer with very good references (thank you a lot! ). However, I think it doesn't answer the specific question at hand. Based on the information you provided, ehat would you think is the appropriate frame rate for gif? – Devin Apr 13 '16 at 14:48
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    @Devin You’re quite right about that. This answer started as a technical comment that got out of hand. I think I indirectly provided some min., default and max. values: 1, 12–15 and 20 hertz. The average could probably be below the default for many types of animation if one can employ advanced automatic or manual optimization techniques – the linked article in Stephen Keable’s answer suggests to manually remove every second or third frame from normal video and adjust their delay accordingly, which turns a 24 Hz source into 12 or 16 Hz and 30 Hz into 15 or 20 Hz, so on my upper end. – Crissov Apr 13 '16 at 18:09
  • thank you @Crissov, I was (am) really interested in this answer and you seem to be very knowledgeable on the subject. Thank yo and +1 for a great answer :) – Devin Apr 13 '16 at 18:20
  • My answer was based on creating GIFs from scratch in Photoshop or similar, rather than video conversion. An alternative to GIF (which can sometimes be more file size efficient) for video previews is creating a sprite and using CSS or JS to animate as per this example - jsfiddle.net/simurai/CGmCe – Stephen Keable Apr 14 '16 at 14:08
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Cinema uses 24 frames per second.
HD video cameras typically capture at 30 or 60 fps.

More frame rates

When I used to create web banner adverts we used to use 12 fps to help reduce file size.

However you will find the size of the colour palette affects the file size too.

Certain image editing tools (Photoshop's Animation palette) allow you to set the duration for a frame, this will help keep size down too.

More can be found here on optimising - 10 Ways to Optimise an Animated GIF File

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